(HT: 1-1)
Reading Scorers: Butler (6 mins), Cureton (49), McIntyre (79).
Rotherham Scorers: Robins (28, pen)
Date: 30 September 2000
Attendance: 4,288

Reading: Whitehead, Gurney, Viveash, Williams, Newman, Parkinson, Caskey, Hodges, Butler, Cureton, McIntyre..
Subs: Jones, Murty, Smith, Howie, Mackie.

Rotherham: Gray, Watson, Warne, Hurst, Branston, Wilsterman, Scott, Turner, Garner, Lee, Robins.
Subs: Connor, Monkhouse, Hudson, Barker, Knill.


At last Reading showed signs that they are capable of producing the same kind of football away from the comforts of home as we have seen this season at the Madejski Stadium. Rotherham looked a similar kind of team to Peterborough and Northampton, but where in the past we have buckled and failed to produce a result, today Reading controlled the game and ran out worthy 3-1 winners.

The only change to the relatively settled side of the last few games was at centre back, because of Barry Hunter's suspension. It was great to see Adie Williams return from injury to make his first appearance of the season. Despite having played just one reserve match since his return, Adie lasted a good 80 minutes today and didn't look like he had been away. We now have our first choice pairing of Williams and Viveash at the back, and surely Hunter will struggle to re-claim his place.

Whereas at Peterborough Reading began the game cautiously, keen to contain the opposition and avoid conceding, today it was Royals who pushed forward from the start. This had the desired result, as we achieved something that appears to be vital in achieving a result away from home - an early goal. A cross from Newman on the right found Martin Butler, who carried on his great form from last week by cracking home a volley from 12 yards. After coming away from Peterborough having failed to take any of our many chances, this early strike gave the Royals the confidence they needed to go on and win the game.

Yet an all-out Reading domination was prevented by another poor refereeing decision. While the penalty decision at Peterborough had been dubious, today's was scandalous. A small tug by Viveash was spotted by a handful of Rotherham fans, and their appeals seemed to convince the ref to give a late decision in favour of the home side. It was the sort of thing that happens at most corners and free kicks, and goes unpunished the majority of the time. Not today though, as the ref gave Rotherham the chance they needed to get back into the game. Ex-Reading loan forward Mark Robins scored the penalty, and unjustly the scores were once again level.

That decision created a bad atmosphere, both on the pitch and in the stands. There was a mini punch-up between the two sides after a Rotherham player went down in the area trying for another penalty. The dive wasn't fooling anyone, and rightly angered the Reading defence. The referee was forced to break up the players, yet for some reason the Rotherham player who started it avoided a booking.

The half ended all square with a feeling of being robbed once again present in the Reading end. It would have been easy for the frustration and anger to show in the players in the second half, and to be honest many of us feared the worst at half-time. The series of poor refereeing decisions, together with the fact that the scores were somehow level, made the game very reminiscent of Peterborough two weeks earlier.

Yet the half-time break came just at the right time, and Reading came out looking calm and determined to restore the lead they deserved. It didn’t take long, as Jamie Cureton made it 16 goals for his partnership with Butler just four minutes into the second half. For once, the goal was not down to Cureton’s brilliance, but to an awful defensive blunder from Rotherham. A complete lack of communication between the Millers’ defence led to the keeper completely missing the ball and Cureton was left with the simple job of tapping in Reading’s second.

The relief was obvious among the Reading fans, who were able to celebrate an away league goal for only the third time this season. However, the mood was spoiled by the actions of a number of over-keen stewards, who decided the travelling supporters were enjoying themselves too much. The stewards unnecessarily lined the Reading end, then preceded to move in and take one of the loyal following of Royals out of the ground. All this achieved was to anger the rest of the Reading fans, and caused a huge confrontation between us and the stewards for the majority of the rest of the game. Another Reading fan was taken out, this time by the handful of police that were forced into action. Sadly, a few stewards on some kind of power trip spoilt the afternoon for a number of people. If they had simply let us celebrate the goal as all fans have the right to, there would have been no need for any arrests.

The attention gradually returned to matters on the pitch, as it became apparent that Reading would settle for nothing less than their second away win of the season. Jamie Cureton was substituted early on in the second half, with Neil Smith shoring up the midfield and Jimmy McIntyre pushing forward. Rotherham caused us very few problems for the rest of the match, and despite one spell of sustained pressure they were unable to trouble Phil Whitehead. The only real scares for the Reading fans were one effort which hit the outside of the post, and another which was narrowly wide.

Another welcome return from injury saw Keith Jones come off the bench for his first appearance in a competitive game for the Royals. John Mackie also came on late in the game for the weary Adie Williams, who had played superbly in his return to the team. Jones looked very lively for 15 minutes, and will surely fit into the starting eleven when fully fit. Sadly, this could see the end of Phil Parkinson as a first choice central midfielder. Parky has been great to this club and is still an important member of the squad, but it is difficult to see him and Jones starting in the same side.

Reading sealed the victory towards the end as Jimmy McIntyre towered over the Rotherham defence and placed a superb header in the bottom corner of the net. It was another good performance from Jimmy, who has shown in recent weeks that he is able to play well both as a wide midfielder, and score goals up front when necessary. Although still on the transfer list, recent performances must surely encourage Alan Pardew to re-consider the future of McIntyre.

The final whistle, after a staggering amount of injury time, saw Reading move up to third in the league above Friday’s opponents Wigan. This performance showed we can score goals away, and now there can be nothing but optimism for the coming months. While most of us will settle for a point from the JJB, Reading are on a roll and are capable of taking all three.

Report by Neil Cole

Post Match Opinions

After drinking in Rotherham and paying 1.30 a pint I thought christmas had come early, then after their goalkeeper and defender decided to both leave the ball for Cureton to score from 2 inches out I started singing Jingle Bells. I missed our first goal, as I was emptying some of that 1.30 lager.
We played well up until they got a penalty. How ironic,2 weeks ago I was moaning about the Peterborough game where everybody saw the penalty incident except the referee. Well this week NO-ONE saw the penalty incident except the ref,me and my big mouth! They scored and we sat back for the rest of the half.
Pardew and Mad Dog must have put a rocket up them at half time because second half we were excellent.After Cureton's gift we continued to attack and were rewarded with Mcintyre scoring a header. We never allowed them to get into the game,which is something I haven't seen from a Reading team for years.
Whitehead was superb again, he came for everything and caught everything. All round brilliant day ,cheap beer, 3 points and my train got back to London on time,Saturdays just don't get better than that.

-- Russ, Essex Royal.

A superb all round peformance,spoiled only by a couple of mindless idiots in the away end.It was lucky that they were wearing yellow jackets with "Steward" written on it for easy identification on CCTV.
-- Martin Dade.

We looked a bit more solid at the back with the return of Adie Williams and when Robinson returns and Gurney is dropped we will have a decent back four, if they can stay fit.
Butler run his heart out, Whitehead caught everything that came into the 18 yard box and McIntyre was my man of the match. Surely Pardew must keep him now as he proved that he could deliver the goods. Great header and a great ball by Hodges.
I thought Rotherham played well but we didn't let them have any real chances.
The Royals are going from strength to strength and long may this continue.
Speaking to a Rotherham fan after the match he tried to tell me we don't look like a side that will be promoted.
Sour grapes I guess.
If Reading keep playing the way we are there is only 1 direction that Reading will be going.
Need I say anymore.
-- James.

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